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As a former rural 911/Emergency Services/Sheriff's dispatcher, I can tell you that depending on an alarm company for security is a mistake. They charge you to come set up a possibly faulty system, then charge you "monitoring" fees, and if something goes wrong, they just call the police to check out the situation.
Like the Boy who cried "Wolf," almost all alarm activations are false, especially in suburban or rural areas. The local burger joint hangs its special deals poster from the ceiling air conditioning duct, causing it to spin in front of a motion detector. A homeowner locks a big dog in a house with a motion detector. An auto parts chain gives their night shift delivery drivers a code to open a door and drop off boxes, but the motion detectors inside are still hot. Mice chew through the wiring running from window to window back in a warehouse. A store on the state highway half a block from a red light has the plate glass break sensors trip when vibrated by tractor-trailer engine brakes slowing for a stop. One home had so many false responses, the local Undersheriff paid the owners a visit to advise no one would be responding to their alarm anymore.
The police officers assigned to an alarm activation may have to travel some distance to check it out. If the doors and windows are locked, nothing is visible inside, and the responsible parties refuse to respond and open the premises for a search, they will end the call as unfounded and drive away. It has happened that burglars were actually hiding inside, and tripped the alarm again later when making their getaway. If a responsible party actually is enroute, the officers are unavailable until a search of the premises is completed.
If you are really in trouble, dial 911, preferably from a landline or cable phone, not a cell phone. Operators are trained to listen for background clues, whether or not there is someone talking on the line with them. Do not hang up unless told to. If it is not safe, dial 911 and drop the phone so the operator can hear what is going on, and advise the patrols. Screaming "YOU B@$----" at the top of your lungs in the background will get the dispatcher's attention, and get a prompt dispatch of patrols.
If you use a landline phone, your name, address, apartment number, etc will be displayed. If you can stay on the line, the operator will confirm it is correct. In most centers, one push of a key enters this into the incident record on the computer, ready for dispatch. A modern cell phone may point out your location on a map, but the address information must be manually entered.
On the other hand, if an alarm goes off, the alarm company must first place a telephone call to the center. Usually they just say, "There is an alarm off at the Morris residence" and give the address. The dispatcher must type all of this into the computer, plus the name and phone number of the alarm company, and the employee's identifier. Most of the time, the alarm center employee does not offer WHERE in the residence the alarm tripped, unless interrogated. Once it is determined that it is the kitchen entry or basement motion detector that tripped, and all information is verified, only then does a patrol get started toward the alarm. The patrol is not going to make a heroic response when there is no clue what caused the trip of your system.
The only alarm I ever gave #1 top priority to was a "panel duress" alarm in an address given as a gun shop. I figured out that "panel duress" was an insider term for "panic button" and there was a human at the alarm. It turns out grandma lived in an apartment over the store, and was only having trouble arming the system for the night.
An exception to this bias against alarm companies is wearable "lifeline" systems for the elderly, or those with health issues. Fire alarms in locations that are not repeatedly "food on the stove" calls are OK, too. A local chain of stores also has wearable holdup alarms for their employees. Also, holdup alarms in general will get more attention than an alarm in a building expected to be unoccupied, which may just be equipment problems. The expectation that an alarm was deliberately triggered by a human in need out-weighs a call that might just be a malfunction.
If you are keeping watch over a perimeter and have a person assigned to stand watch. You can establish an alarm system using monofilament line . String it tight around the entire perimeter, about a foot off the ground. Attach a taunt line from this perimeter trip wire, to a noise maker , such as a tin can with some pebbles in it. This noise maker needs to be in close proximity to the watchman. If any one or any thing approaches your perimeter , especially at night, they will trip the alarm. If you want a silent alarm that will wake you , substitute the noise maker for a small container of water that will spill on you.
To compound the alarm company issue, I use to pay a company to monitor my shop. They would place a call to my shop first to see if anyone answers the phone before they even consider calling the cops. If someone answers the phone they had to have a password. Although I had an employee set it off and when he answered the phone and told them he did not know the password but assured them he worked there so they did nothing. Talk about a waste of money. I now monitor the system myself by having added a dialer that calls ME when it is tripped.
Fifty years ago , (I was twelve) , My aunt and uncle owned a small country store in TN. They lived a half mile down the road from the store . Some one broke in to the store twice in within two weeks and took candy and cigarettes. My aunt took the telephone, ( an old rotatory dial type) and dialed her home phone number. When she dialed the last number and her finger reached the stop on the dial , she put a pencil behind the stop to prevent the dial from returning and thus competing the call. She tied a string to the pencil and tied the other end of the string to the swinging door that led to the space behind the cash register. she put a paper bag over the phone to hide the receiver being off the hook. Two nights later her phone rang about two in the morning and my uncle was able to hear the two buglers talking to each other. He took his gun and drove to the store and held them until the Sheriff arrived. This was her silent alarm . If you think out of the box, you can solve these kind of problems. This will not work with today’s telephones but there are very efficient devices that will. If TSHTF you will have to think low tech .